Village Tragedy – Eight Children Narrowly Escape Death – Father’s Suicide House Filled With Gas.

May 1909

Leeds Mercury – Monday 17 May 1909

Village Tragedy.

Eight Children Narrowly Escape Death.

Father’s Suicide House Filled With Gas.

The village of Conisborough, twelve miles from Sheffield, was the scene of shocking tragedy Saturday morning, when miner named George Brown, aged 46, was discovered lying dead in bed with his throat cut, and it was evident that before committing suicide had turned on the gas all over the house, his eight children coming within ace of death by axpbyxiation.

The circumstances of the case are peculiarly distressing. Brown lost his wife a year ago, and, to add to his depression, had been out of work for nearly eleven months. Some time ago his eldest son was fatally injured in the mine, and the family had lived on the compensation money, and been in great stress.

A girl of sixteen, his eldest child, had supplied the mother’s place the little ones.

Early on Saturday morning she was awakened by the baby, sixteen months old, gasping for breath, and she aroused her father. He said there was nothing wrong, but a quarter of an hour later two of her brothers, awakened by a knocker-up,” rushed into her room horror-stricken, and said their father was making a choking noise, and was covered with blood.”

They had hardly uttered the words when they both fell down overcome the gas, and became violently sick. One of the girls threw the window open and called loudly for help. When assistance arrived, all the eight children, of whom the eldest is sixteen and the youngest a little over a year, were removed to neighbouring house. All of them were suffering from gas poisoning. Neighbours turned off the gas and sent for a doctor.

On going to Brown’s room they found him lying a chair, with his throat cut and a razor by his side. He died almost immediately. All the children were very ill, but after medical attention they slowly recovered. It is stated that Brown had been depressed and morose lately, but had never threatened to take his life.

He should have appeared on Saturday at the Doncaster Police-court for assaulting a woman on the previous Saturday